A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic #2
Also in this series: A Darker Shade of Magic, A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3)
Published by Tor Books on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
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It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell's possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland's dying body through the rift – back into Black London.
Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games – an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries – a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.
The Story: A Gathering of Shadows
I just don’t understand how one book (or series, rather) can be so darn good.
Just like it’s previous book, A Darker Shade of Magic, this book blew me away. I loved everything about it and you should all read it right now.
Picking up shortly after the events of the first in this series, A Gathering of Shadows begins with Lila Bard on a pirate ship. That’s all she’s ever wanted – to be on a pirate ship, sailing the seas, a life of adventure away from the shore. Her captain Alucard Emery has kept her on as the ship’s thief, even though she’s a woman, and together they have been practicing magic behind closed doors. One day he announces that they are headed for London city, for the Element Games, a large international tournament where magicians spar using magic. As the pirate ship nears London, Lila’s thoughts constantly wander to Kell.
And in London, in the palace where he grew up, Kell’s nightmares and dreams of dark magic are only softened by his thoughts of Lila. But as Prince Rhy comes up with a ingenious plan to keep Kell’s mind off…well, everything, Kell is worried about every step he takes, as it hurts Rhy as it does him. As both Kell and Lila end up disguised in the tournament, as old friends come to light, new ones are made, and dead men walk, A Gathering of Shadows is truly an incredible book.
My Thoughts: A Gathering of Shadows
Like I mentioned in the review of A Darker Shade of Magic, the world that Schwab has created is so wonderful. Four different Londons, four degrees of magic and sanity, four different cities for magic to run a muck in. The characters are now some of my favourite in fiction. Lila (“She bent most of the rules. She broke the rest.”) is this strong kick-ass tom-boy of a woman who knows what’s she’s doing, and her longing for adventure so resonates (and in case you’re wondering – yes. Yes I wouldn’t totally become an old-fashion story pirate). Kell is this deeply concerning character, whose love for his brother is one of the only things that drives him.
The introduction of characters like Alucard bring together some more back story on the city and the Royal family, and bring out characters’ personalities and protective ways more and more.
The writing is superb. Not only are the characters unique, definitely their own, and stand out from each other and from other books I’ve read, but the dialogue and descriptions and just general story telling is excellent. The amount of times when I thought ‘ooh, what a brilliant line’ were numerous,
With twists and turns and love and murder, with shadows indeed gathering, and coats that can still change their style when you flip them inside out, A Gathering of Shadows is just as magical as A Darker Shade of Magic, both books which I have given 5 stars to, and 2017 and the release of the third book, A Conjuring of Light, cannot come soon enough.
Have you read A Gathering of Shadows? Did you love it?